Pence praises Trump's 'candor' in Sessions confrontation

In an exclusive interview with Fox News' "Tucker Carlson Tonight" Wednesday, Vice President Mike Pence touted President Trump's "candor" in airing his frustration with Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

"I know the Washington way is to talk behind people's backs. But that's not President Donald Trump's approach," Pence told Fox News' Tucker Carlson. "One of the great things about this president is you always know where you stand ... I think one of the president's virtues is his candor."

Trump has repeatedly vented this week about Sessions' self-recusal from the investigation into Russian activities during the 2016 presidential campaign in a series of media interviews as well as on his Twitter account. At one point Monday, Trump referred to Sessions in a Twitter post as "our beleagured A.G."

Trump continued the onslaught Wednesday with a tweet wondering why Sessions didn't "replace Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe," who succeeded James Comey after Trump fired him May 9. 

Pence acknowledged that Trump was "disappointed" in Sessions' recusal, saying "there's no attempt to hide his feelings and his expressed disappointment here is very sincere." But he also said that Trump's frustration "doesn't mean that we don't recognize the good work the Justice Department has been doing under the attorney general's leadership."

Pence refused to speculate on Sessions' future in the administration, saying only "we'll see what happens in the future."

A source told Fox News earlier this week that Sessions' chief of staff, Jody Hunt, recently informed White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus that the attorney general had no intention of resigning. Separately, Department of Justice officials have told Fox News that Sessions is in "good spirits."

Late Tuesday, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, tweeted that the committee would not consider a replacement for Sessions this year if the attorney general was fired or resigned. 

Fox News also has learned that Sessions is planning to announce several criminal leak investigations after a series of news reports that have publicized sensitive intelligence material.

Fox News' Jake Gibson contributed to this report.